- Amatera Biosciences, a biotech platform, secured a €1.5 million pre-seed investment to develop new perennial crops that address challenges from deforestation, diseases, and climate change.
- Global coffee consumption is projected to double by 2050, yet coffee crops face significant threats from climate change and diseases, with Arabica coffee being particularly susceptible.
- Amatera introduces the “Robustica” coffee variety, blending Arabica’s rich flavor with the robustness and higher yield of Robusta. They are also working on a naturally caffeine-free Arabica variant.
- Amatera utilizes plant cell culture and molecular biology techniques to accelerate plant evolution at the cellular level, offering a non-GMO solution particularly suited for perennial crops like coffee.
- Key investors and partners recognize the disruptive potential of Amatera’s technology, appreciating its application on diverse crops and its promise to combat climate change without relying on controversial gene editing.
In an age marked by the drastic effects of climate change and rapid deforestation, the quest for sustainable food sources has never been more paramount. Leading this charge is Amatera Biosciences, a pioneering biotech platform committed to fast-tracking the development of perennial crops that will sustainably feed the world.
Today, with the seal of a €1.5 million pre-seed investment led by PINC, the venture arm of Paulig, Amatera is poised to reshape the future of coffee cultivation. The investment round also saw participation from Exceptional Ventures, Mudcake (previously known as Trellis Road), Joyance Partners, Agfunder, and a slew of seasoned biotech entrepreneurs.
Coffee in the Crosshairs
With over a trillion cups of coffee consumed globally each year—a figure set to double by 2050—the beverage’s immense popularity is juxtaposed by the grim reality its cultivation faces. Coffee, particularly the Arabica variety, grapples with the dual threats of climate change and persistent diseases. Current estimates alarmingly suggest that we might witness a 50% reduction in areas conducive to Arabica cultivation by 2050. Diseases, meanwhile, are already erasing 26% of the global coffee yield annually.
Addressing this issue, Omar Dekkiche, CEO of Amatera, elucidated, “Traditional breeding techniques demand over 20 years to produce a new coffee variety. Our mission is to truncate this timeframe significantly.” He introduced “Robustica,” a revolutionary coffee blend that marries the flavor richness of Arabica with the robustness of Robusta. In a significant breakthrough, Amatera is also in the process of cultivating a naturally caffeine-free Arabica variety. This innovation promises vast economic and environmental savings, considering traditional decaffeination involves dousing beans in chemical solvents.
Innovative Breeding Techniques
The cornerstone of Amatera’s approach lies in leveraging advanced plant cell culture and molecular biology methodologies. Lucie Kriegshauser, CTO of Amatera, explained, “Our technology expedites the natural evolution of plants at the cellular level.” This non-GMO technique, although familiar, holds significant promise for perennial crops like coffee, which are inherently more complex.
Marika King, Head of PINC, expressed enthusiasm about this disruptive innovation. “While coffee has been historically underserved in research, we’re excited about Amatera’s focus on this sector. It’s still early days, but with the world-class team and partners behind Amatera, the potential is immense.”
Echoing this sentiment, Matt Cooper, Executive Chairman of Exceptional Ventures, added, “Omar and Lucie’s expertise, combined with their mission-driven approach to address global challenges, makes Amatera a promising venture to watch.”
Amatera Biosciences has positioned itself at the forefront of non-GMO breeding for perennial crops. With coffee as its flagship project, the company aims to expand its innovative approach to other crops imperiled by climate change, such as cacao and grapes.
In a world of environmental challenges, ventures like Amatera offer hope, championing sustainable solutions that promise a greener, more prosperous future.
Photo by Livier Garcia